Sunday, November 30, 2008

Invasive English ivy featured in Newsweek..with a twist

Yes that sure looks like Hedera helix wrapped around the U. S. presidential rostrum. (I checked a hard copy of the article) to verify (it is good to have more than fuzzy virtual renditions and copies).

"Give me your hungry, your homeless your plants which need no spraying, and can survive both drought and flood."

English ivy, an invasive species poster child in the mid-Atlantic, is prominently features in a Newsweek article entitled: A Leadership Reality Check Oratory is not enough. It often takes a national crisis to persuade Americans to make sacrifices.

The article is about climate change and warming, with intense nods towards CO2 changes. It is a call for politicians to ask for public sacrifice. However, it is going to be hard to get the public to make sacrifices when we can not get our vices and virtues straight. Featuring an invasive species, most certainly without knowing that the natural area invader is centered in the picture subconsciously raises the question of what else is not quite right about the information thus presented.

This picture in a sense is a reinforcement of the need for systematics (USDA BARC) and basic taxonomy, fields which we publicly and privately fail to support because we blithely assume that someone some where knows. In addition, this photo found on the Internet refutes the notion that we do not need libraries and their collections (NAL) and more importantly librarians to vet our factoids.

The irony of having an invasive species featured front and center in an environmental call to arms in a reputable news magazine is rich and symptomatic of how far we need to go in order to engage in conversations on an equal playing field with all parties having the same access to information.

Newsweek: April 14, 2008 page 48

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Sustainable Landscape Alternatives:

The Sustainable Sites Initiative proposes an alternative to traditional landscape design principles offering a tool for those who wish to garden, want to limit invasive species' impact, and enhance environmental services. As a member of the technical sub committee on vegetation for this project , I am excited to be part of a new vision for landscaping, as a long time grower and retailer of garden plants and garden solutions, I am delighted to offer my customers a choice.

Sustainable Sites Initiative -

The Sustainable Sites Initiative is an interdisciplinary partnership led by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the United States Botanic Garden and a diverse group of stakeholder organizations working together to foster a transformation in land development and management practices. Through the creation and implementation of clear and rigorous design, construction, operations, and maintenance criteria, the Initiative aims to supplement existing green building and landscape guidelines as well as to become a stand-alone tool for site sustainability. The U.S. Green Building Council, a major stakeholder in the Initiative, anticipates incorporating the benchmarks into future versions of the LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating SystemTM.

The Initiative envisions that sustainable land practices will enable natural and built systems to work together to protect and enhance the ability of landscapes to provide services such as climate regulation, clean air and water, and improved quality of life.

Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks Draft 2008Available on November 10thOn November 10th, the Sustainable Sites Initiative will release the Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks Draft 2008 for public comment. This important milestone builds on the initial Standards and Guidelines: Preliminary Report released in November of last year. The new draft will contain over 50 proposed prerequisites and credits ranging from site selection to sustainable maintenance practices. The metrics’ format will be similar to existing LEED tools in structure and will include the following components:

Credit intent
Ecosystem services addressed
Social and economic benefits
Submittal documentation
Technologies and strategies

The Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks Draft 2008 will be available for download and public comment beginning on November 10, 2008 at The public comment period will close January 20, 2009. Public review and comment is essential to the successful development of these guidelines and performance-based benchmarks. To participate in the review process, visit Study Library OnlineThe Sustainable Sites Initiative received over 125 submittals to the call for case studies. These case studies demonstrate a wide variety of sustainable practices addressing issues associated with stormwater management, integrated design process, habitat restoration, material management and other sustainable practices. The Initiative will continue to build this library over time from the wealth of innovative submissions we have received. We appreciate the willingness of these organizations to share their experiences through the case study process. Future opportunities to submit additional case studies will be promoted on the website.